Nutrient-rich, sustainable, able to survive extreme temperature variations and neglect, and yet still thrive. Spirulina really is a miracle food, and has been recognised as just that by many native cultures where it has been an integral part of their diet for centuries.
Spirulina is not a plant, but rather a simple, one-celled organism which is usually referred to as a form of blue-green algae, although technically it is a cyanobacteria. It is a great nutrient source, a near-perfect food, and we will look at this in a moment, but it has also been shown to help with a wide variety of ailments and has some special properties that help us to keep healthy in our ever more toxic world. It has also been seriously discussed as a sustainable food source for the planet as it grows and reproduces quickly and is easily grown and harvested all over the world.
Unlike other bacteria spirulina has chlorophyll and uses the sun as an energy source in the way that both plants and algae do.
Spirulina is one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet – it is anywhere from 65 -71% protein and contains all the essential amino acids (by comparison red meat is approximately 27% protein). What is more, it is a highly digestible form of protein as spirulina does not have cellulose walls and therefore is highly absorbable – of major benefit to the many people with impaired protein digestion.
In addition, spirulina has a wide array of other nutrients. It is naturally high in:
B Vitamins including high levels of B12
Vitamins A, C, D, E and K
Potassium, calcium, chromium, zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese
GLA (gammo-linolenic acid) which is important for heart and joints
Phytopigments such a chlorophyll, carotenoids and phycocyanin which helps induce stem cell production
Antioxidants which confer protection from ultraviolet light
Sulphur, a mineral important for liver, pancreas, detoxification, flexibility and skin
In addition, it is considered an excellent detoxifier due to the levels of chlorophyll, and can also help with the burning of fat during exercise so can be helpful with a combined diet and exercise regime, as well as binding with radioactive isotopes and giving a radioprotective effect.
As a full spectrum protein source spirulina will help to balance brain chemistry and improve mental sharpness, as well as improve cellular communication so every cell in your body will talk and ‘hear’ better. It is also a blood builder and has been used to alleviate anaemia as it helps increase levels of haemoglobin, and is a great tonic for the immune system, useful for fighting viral infections, as well as helping maintain healthy insulin levels.
Studies are increasingly confirming the benefits to health. There are scientific studies supporting the use of spirulina in improving the following:
Type II diabetes
Cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinsons, Alzheimers)
Bone marrow and blood health
Reduced allergy sensitivity
Reduced sensitivity to pain
Improving arthritis symptoms
It is also used to help with painful periods and helps to reduce the fatigue often felt with menstruation, as well as being helpful for the menopause. Spirulina also balances gut microflora, particularly the important lactobacillus bacteria.
Some health experts recommend using spirulina for 3 weeks then taking a week’s break before starting again, others recommend using continuously. See what works best for you. Although very safe occasionally some people find their body reacts to the benefits of spirulina. This is usually highlighting the state of their health and may include some the following:
Slight fever – metabolism is increased and may elevate body temperature
Dark green stools – spirulina is helping to clear accumulated waste in your colon which may darken stools. Chlorophyll may also turn stools green.
Wind – this is indicative of the digestive system not functioning properly
Restlessness – the bioavailability of protein is being converted into heat energy which may give temporary feelings of restlessness.
Skin breakouts or rash – this is indicative of colon cleansing and is temporary
Drowsiness – a by-product of the detoxification process. Your body is run down and exhausted, so give it some proper rest
Available either as a powder, tablets, flakes or capsules. Find an organic or well-regulated source as spirulina grown in an uncontrolled environment can become contaminated. The ideal daily dose is between 3 and 5 grams, although it is safe to take higher. Due to the detoxifying effects, start at the low end of the dosage and gradually increase as you get a feel for how your body responds.
Adding spirulina in to your health regime will only be of benefit. Try this gift from Mother Nature and start to reap the benefits.